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Mobile Makeover: Local News Goes Mobile To Boost Engagement

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In this Mobile Makeover series, we’ve written a lot about how brands and marketers can improve their content marketing results on mobile, simply by making it more engaging with a tool like Pressly.

But the exact same thing can be said for traditional publishers of all sizes, whether you are a major daily, or a niche local magazine. Content marketers and brands are just a different kind of publisher, after all. And pageviews, bounce rates and advertising (or call to actions) are all crucial elements in both worlds.

Which is why for today’s mobile makeover we wanted to switch gears and speak to more traditional publishers to give you a concrete picture of why thinking about your mobile experience is so important, and what you stand to gain. You’ll see that it’s far more than just a fancy way to read; it’s more time with your content, a deeper engagement with your readers, and a totally new way to monetize your property.

Local News and Niche Publishing Going Mobile

As per usual, we have selected a non-Pressly client for example’s sake. This week we are looking at the Chicago Citizen, a leading African American-focused local publication. It’s a great example of both a local and a niche publication.

The reason we selected a smaller, niche publisher, rather than say a New York Times is two fold. First of all, most national dailies already are actively working on some kind of mobile fix. The same cannot be said for smaller publications, with even tighter budgets, who are only now starting to realize there’s a world of affordable, powerful tools out there to help them get on tablets and smartphones.

The second reason is more important. Mobile is everywhere, as we’ve said before, but it’s increasingly a point of interest for local news publishers. In fact, according to a Pew Research Center study, in rural and small cities, up to 45% of residents are using phones or tablets to gather local news and weather reports. That number climbs even higher in urban and suburban centers, with as much as 57% of residents getting their local news fix while on a handheld device.

So without further ado, let’s dig in to Chicago Citizen’s mobile makeover.

Built for click and scroll on the big screen

When you visit the Citizen’s existing homepage on your mobile device, whether it’s smartphone, or tablet, you are presented with a less than ideal experience. As you can see in the images below, you are forced to pinch to zoom in to read the articles, and clicking links can be a pest.

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Navigation not built for the mobile environment

The other major problem is that when you do nothing to make your website ready for mobile, you are forcing readers to navigate through your app using the native buttons built in, which means they are constantly re-loading pages all the time which can be a huge drag for the smaller devices and users who are on the go. Also, as in this case with the Citizen, if you were to scroll down, the nav bar completely disappears.

Pressly can help: a true mobile reading experience

Now let’s take a look at what we were able to whip together using Pressly’s easy and automatic mobile publishing platform. All we did was find a readily available RSS feed of the Citizen’s content, plug that into our dashboard, then did some quick visual customizations, such as adding their logo, picking their color and selecting the most suitable template for their content.

As always, these demos are way better if you experience them first hand. So take out your tablet or smartphone and head over to (Tip: email yourself that link for easy opening on a mobile device).

 The first thing you’ll notice is how much more appropriate the content is laid out for your device.

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The Pressly experience also makes it easy to sit back and simply swipe from page to page. See an article you like? Just tap it to open full screen. It’s exactly how reading on mobile is supposed to be.

Better results: pageviews, bounce rate and time spent

For publishers, creating a better mobile experience is not just about putting a pretty face on your content. It’s about driving business and revenue opportunities.

In fact, we conducted a study earlier this year that analyzed the way users interact with a Pressly-powered site versus standard desktop sites on mobile devices and the results were eye opening. Compared to industry benchmarks, as well as the client’s previous website engagement metrics, a Pressly-powered mobile experience gives publishers:

  • Up to 10 times more pageviews per visit
  • Visits that last up to 4.5 times longer
  • A reduction of bounce rate by up to 10 times

In other words, when a user drops into your site when powered by Pressly, they are likely to stick around longer and see more content. Part of this is due to the great mobile layout, and also the fact that Pressly really drives a person from start to finish, allowing you to swipe from page to page, meaning you  they end up seeing more articles than they would have if they were clicking back and forth on a browser’s nav button.

New Advertising Opportunities

But maybe one of the most exciting opportunities Pressly brings publishers of all sizes is the ability to display beautiful, full screen interstitial ads in between their articles. These ads occupy the entire screen and they can be far more immersive and enjoyable to see than the standard banner and box ads.

Certainly full screen advertising has yet to reach critical mass in the industry, but working with a company like Pressly gives you and your sales team the tools to start experimenting with new formats and driving more revenue from your property than ever before.

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The ad you see above has been so effective in Pressly-run properties, in fact, that it was recently called out as 1 of 6 mobile ads that people love.


The bottom line

While there’s plenty of reason for marketers to start thinking of getting more ROI from their online content, publishers too need to start thinking about how they can take the leap to mobile and start improving their key metrics such as pageviews and advertising revenues. There are a number of platforms coming out that let publishers do just that, quickly, easily and automatically.

Want to see what your content would look like with a Pressly mobile makeover? Go sign up for a free trial and get started in minutes.










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